A lot of people are talking about the Utah State Prison possibly relocating to Tooele County.
With the site near Miller Motorsports Park no longer being considered, the only top site left in the county is near the Walmart Distribution Center in Grantsville.
Grantsville is my home town.
In my community, many residents have protested against having the prison moved here. There have been events to raise awareness and to give people the opportunity to share their opinions. There have also been many people who have taken to social media to share the benefits of having the prison relocated here.
I was at Manti a couple of weeks ago. While there a man asked me where I was from. When I told him Grantsville, I didn’t expect him to know where that was, but he said, “Ah, you live where the prison is being moved.”
Hearing someone from far away say that made me wonder what was going to happen if the prison did move to my town. How did I really feel about it? People around me who shared their opinions on the prison were adults. Whenever I asked my peers about it, their opinions seemed to be that of their parents and not their own.
I feel it is important for high school students to have an opinion on this matter. If I decide to start my own family in my beloved town, it is me who will have to raise children next to the prison. It is my generation that the prison relocation is going to affect the most.
Seeing how big of an impact the prison could have on my life, I did research to develop my own thoughts and feelings. I read plenty of statistics, but in the end, they are just numbers. What’s really important about the prison relocation is the effect it’s going to have on the people around it.
I’ve heard some express concern about how they feel it’ll make our town dangerous to raise children. But I don’t think that is much of a worry. The likelihood of a prisoner escaping is extremely rare, and the likelihood of an escaped prisoner going on a killing spree in the town next door is even rarer.
The real concern I have about the prison is the impact it may have on the culture of Grantsville. My town has spent the last century developing a happy environment for people in which to live. We thrive on our traditions. We are a small town, but we’ve always been mighty in spirit. I could imagine no better place to raise my children.
But having the prison built here is going to destroy the beautiful culture that we have. Our town will no longer be the Home of the Cowboys; it will instead be the Home of the State Prison. People will no longer look at my town with a smile on their face, but will instead cringe at the idea of living here.
The idea of raising children next to a prison just isn’t a happy one, nor is it an idea that most people will want to take on. My town will become a place that people will want to get out of as quickly as possible — and never to return. My town’s culture will be completely destroyed by the relocation of the prison.
The effect of the prison on my town is more than just numbers — it is going to affect the lives of every single citizen who lives here, and definitely not in a good way.
Cartwright will be a senior at Grantsville High School this fall.